IDPF Working Group Improving on EPUB Format for E-books
With the steady increase in e-books sales and the growing demand from consumers for this format, many publishers have had to adjust their business models and production processes to provide their books as e-books. According to May sales figures released this week by the Association of American Publishers and the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), e-book sales increased nearly 163 percent for the month, and year-to-date e-book sales increased 207.4 percent over the same period last year.
In September 2007, the IDPF adopted the Open Publication Structure 2.0 e-book specification, which includes the EPUB format, as an official industry standard. Now, a working group comprised of IDPF members is busy updating the industry's existing EPUB 2.0.1 file format to expand its applicability as a delivery format, and as a cross-reading system interchange and production format. Currently adopted as the standard format for trade e-books in North America and Europe, the IDPF hopes its newest version of EPUB (2.1) will be adopted globally for textbooks, digital magazines, news delivery and more, as well as facilitate increased interoperability across reading systems.
Garth Conboy, vice chairman of the IDPF's EPUB 2.1 Working Group (and president of eBook Technologies, an e-book product and services provider), spoke with Book Business Extra on what the revised format will mean for book publishers and e-book readers when it goes live early next year.
Book Business Extra: What can publishers expect from the new EPUB 2.1 file format?
Garth Conboy: We've just completed a maintenance version 2.01 that resolves some minor errors in the specs and provides clarification. The 2.1 or 3.0 effort is still somewhat unnamed, but to be finished early next year. There's really 14 areas that we're focusing [on] for technical development. Probably some [are] more interesting to the magazine and richer content space, some more interesting to books, newspapers. ...